December 23, 2008

Festivus For The Rest Of Us

I'll never forget the first time I heard George Constanza nervously ramble to his boss about his father Frank's personal holiday, Festivus, a special observation set aside to protest all the mind-numbing, ridicules bullshit that surrounds Hanukkah and Christmas and every other sacred day recognized by the masses. It's not that I mind the days themselves, just the opposite really. What I do mind, though, is the way the entire population goes apeshit crazy as the day approaches. A man was killed this year at an early bird special, for Christsake.
Now, I know Frank Constanza is technically a fictional character, but Festivus is pure genius. And, as a matter of fact, it was actually inspired by a Seinfeld writer Dan O'Keefe's father's spin on the celebration of, well, not freakin' celebrating.
I'm sure all you Christmas lovers are going berserk as you read this. Well, hold on, friends, it's gonna get bumpier. My beef with Christmas has nothing to do with the holiday itself, in its rawest form, that is. But, really, the nuts-and-bolts of Christmas really wouldn't make much of a holiday, would it? Since the Bible gives no real guidelines outside of birthing in a pile of hay and then receiving some shit called frankincense and Mir from three wise men, which could be anyone I guess, we really don't know how God wants us to commemorate the birth of His son. Should we stuff a pinata and cheer Jesus on as he puffs out his candles, all 3,000 of 'em? I'm not sure what we are suppose to do, but I'm certain God's plan isn't for us to staple enough fucking Christmas lights to our house to single-handily melt the polar ice caps and make the old spinster woman go certifiably insane from all the blinking light reminders that she and her 7 cats are all alone at Christmas. I'm no Biblical scholar, but I gather from the whole feeding a crowd with a loaf of bread and three fish thing that Jesus dug conservation. I'm just not sure he'd want us to mark his birthday by packing three fucking landfills with useless Christmas paper that briefly covered a bunch of gifts we don't really need.
Not to mention that, Jesus seemed to shun both the prideful lust of worldly possessions and really all violence. Well, putting a bunch of genetically related people who can't freakin' stand each other and only manage to restrain from socking each other in the eye with a turkey drumstick because it would break poor ole Grammy's heart in the same room to trade notes over who's pulling down the biggest paycheck according the size of their wastefully wrapped gifts under the tree just makes perfect sense. As soon as the ribbons are untied and punches are flying, I'm sure Jesus is happy as a bride on her wedding day. Honestly, I don't know why we just don't start a new Christmas tradition of gouging out each other's eyes rather than turning the other cheek. That's the only thing missing.
In light of my obvious Bah Humbug spirit, Festivus clearly resonated with me. Festivus is packed full with much more reasonable customs and my favorite of them all is the "Airing of the Grievances." Just in case you somehow missed Frank Constanza's explanation of this practice to Cosmo Kramer, which would be like overlooking Hailey's Comet flying into Earth, this is the time-honored tradition of basically telling everyone that's disappointed you or pissed you off throughout the year just how they did so. Just imagine how the escalated depression and violence of the holiday season would decrease if we all embraced this rather than Christmas caroling.
So, in honor of Festivus, I want to share with you a small excerpt from my Grievances:

Not only are those horseshit knock-off Lego's that you gave Ridge for his birthday constantly sprinkled around my house like Mardi Gras confetti without the beer and flying chi chis, but when I stumbled haphazardly to the bathroom in the middle of the night, my unsuspecting foot struck one of those bastards and the skin on the bottom of my foot was cut. I woke up the next morning with a bleeding and aching foot and was forced to wear two mismatched Crocs to work at the Hog Trough the next morning because every other shoe hurt too freakin' badly to wear. On the account of that, several people continue to make fun of my fashion sense, which is obviously as dead on as that Calvin Klein person.
Also, you gave Ridge those prescription-less glasses so that he would stop pestering your son Carson for his, but I know it was really so he would love you more than he loves me. You were almost successful in that, but no cigar, biznotch. Thanks to you, Ridge is now that Sampson without his long, locks of hair if he doesn't have those damn glasses -- simply useless. A slow poke to begin with, he now takes more time to get dressed because he's looking for those damn glasses than it took me to grow him in my stomach. Freakin' thanks! I guess I should be comforted in knowing that my kids spend the entire time they are at your house being pampered into love since you want to be their favorite, but you are ruining my life with your quest. I'm currently searching for the most ridicules gifts imaginable to give your kids. Just wait.

Since you have acquired the small, local chain of cell phone providers, the suckage of my coverage has increased dramatically. What's up with that? The old guys had the budget to advertise on the local radio, you guys have the cash flow to make your bidding on every national station. Hell, if you can pull the strings to let Dick Cheney listen to my random phone calls about my man and kids without a warrant surely to hell you can make the motherfuckers work without dropping every five minutes.

Mother in Law,
My sons aren't instantly and magically going to be stricken with pneumonia or frostbit or some other terrible affliction if they thermometer dips below 65 and they aren't wrapped up like that poor bundled up kid in The Christmas Story. Seriously, a band of Cheyenne managed to keep their kids alive for decades 1/4 of a mile from here on the banks of a river with the scant help of a leather tepee. Had that asshole Custer not rode along and massacred them, I'm sure they'd have all died old and withered of old age. I know your concern is because you do so dearly love the boys and I am less annoyed when I realize if something ever happened to me that you would mother them into submission, but I promise not to let them freeze to death.

Kentucky Fried Chicken Man,
I'm not being a bitch for wanting my money back. The chicken was simply raw. I don't eat raw chicken. That's not because I'm a snob, it's because I don't like puking water through my nose for three days. I realize my ass could use the downsizing, but I want my money back nonetheless.

If you happen to go a week without seeing the boys, all memories of you aren't going to be mysteriously whisked from their brain. I can't help that you work 20 hours a day and, for some damn reason, want to sleep those other 4. I'm not a miracle worker. You can either commission God for 4 more hours in a day or stop with the damn overachieving. I understand that this nagging is just because you love them 5 times as much as you love me, which I am actually cool with because I love that my boys are loved, but I can't produce more daylight.

Satellite Repair Man,
When we call you for a repair and then fork over that ridicules surcharge to get you out here, actually fix our shit. Don't strip some wires and then put together some technical house of cards that we'd have to be skilled magicians or, in the very least, engineers to make work after you leave in 5 minutes. I mean, seriously, if I wanted some solution that required some flimsy coat hanger to rest at an almost impossible angle while Rowdy and I jump up and down and pat our heads, we'd have saved our money and done it ourselves.

Oh, this could be five posts in itself. In fact, I am not going to write anything here since, well, bitching about you is pretty well the premise of this blog. I will say that it kinda pisses me off that four years into parenting, you have yet to wash one pair of underwear and you still get to be John Wayne wrapped up in Super Man to the boys every time you walk in the door, which I think is total bullshit since you didn't let the boys live inside your belly for 75% of year, gaining untold discomfort, then to turn around and let them thrive off your breast milk for a year. I do all that and you still get to be the super hero. Fucking bullshit.

Seriously, openly laughing at someone who accidentally rubs peppermint oil in their eye and then agonizing through relentless pain because of it. Seriously. I don't know if I'm peeved or excited that you get my humor. It's one of the two.

Ridge and Rolan,
Along with your dad, you two are the loves of my life. If it weren't for you two, I wouldn't even begrudgingly drag myself through this holiday. Damn you two for lighting up my life through the wonder in your eyes. If you two didn't radiate joy and excitement with even the slightest whisper of the magic of Christmas, I'd be a peaceful woman with abundant rest. I'd use all the money I've spent on gifts and what not to buy a plane ticket to some sunny paradise stocked with hot men and cold beer. Instead I'm running on fumes to wrap all the gifts you don't need and to prepare the food for our celebrations just to see the two of you hold your breath as your rip through wrapping paper to discover your next surprise, to see your mouths drop with glee when you realize what lies beneath it. So, you two darling little shits get my ultimate grievance and I wouldn't have it any other way.

HAPPY FESTIVUS! Watch the Festivus video. It's your heritage.

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phonelady said...

Oh I love it thanks for the laughs this morning . I wish my brother was coming to spend christmas with us but no his daughter came into town and he asked me if it would be okay if they just spent the holiday together . I said of course I mean it is a 9 hr drive for him I understand and he has not seen his daughter in so long . Happy Festivus dear .

HeatherPride said...

I love Festivus! I love the airing of the grievances. Hilarious! I can totally relate to small painful toys on the floor. And the John Wayne wrapped up in Superman line was priceless.

Anonymous said...

Those Thomas glasses are awesome. I rock. There is nothing you could give my kids that would compare. And remember all gifted weapons must remain at the gifter's house.

Also it was kind of child abuse that you didn't already have legos.

Does Rols need some eyewear too?

The Stiletto Mom said...

I knew I forgot to do something...I have no list for the Airing of Grievances!!!

Merry Merry...have a great one!

Sprite's Keeper said...

I felt naughty just reading your grievances, but laughed without regard to who heard me. That was hysterical!
BTW, my brisket recipe was
I will make it tomorrow. If I post on Friday, we survived. But I wouldn't base that on the recipe, more like my culinary ambivilance.
Happy Festivus!

IB said...

Funny stuff. I enjoyed reading your grievances. Good times!

Thanks for stopping by my blog


Anonymous said...

This is hilarious! I feel inspired to share my own grievance, especially because the person who caused it will likely never find me here and read my petty diatribe. ;-)

Dear Mrs. Sister-in-Law, being a middle-school teacher with no kids of your own does not qualify you to judge my parenting. And that scrunchy squinty face as you contemplate what a bad mother I am is most unflattering. I married into the family first so I WIN and YOU LOSE! Ha!

Thanks, I feel much better! :-)

for a different kind of girl said...

Tonight when I am at church, during any lulls in the service, I am totally jotting down my list of grievances!

Rock the Festivus!

Michelle said...

Girl this post freaking rocks!!! I am so giggling and feel all happy now!!! Festivus is THE holiday to celebrate this time of year!!!

I am inspired to now air my grievances!! On my BLOG!!!

I love you Shonda!!! And that is not a pity!!!


Anonymous said...

Don't forget to recycle that Festivus Pole!!!! I'm SO glad that somebody actually "gets" the joke on my sidebar:D

Merry Christmas!! Happy Festivus!!

Thank goodness it will all be over tomorrow!

Unknown said...

I personally hate the holidays! lol so i loved the post!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Shonda...

I am so pissed that you keep me from my life as I come here and laugh my butt off. You are seriously getting in the way!

Stop entertaining me K? Cause I told my kids to be quiet like eight times as I relived Festivus, I loved it!

Finish This Page, but click on the older posts, too.

The knee-slappin,' cursin,' GOOD TIMES don't start or end on the front page, so read the older posts! Maybe you missed something. Maybe you forgot. I try to post daily, so read the older posts!
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